Connected Open Greens
Workshop with Annemie Maes including a seed-bombing stroll through Dortmund
If we really want to reshape our urban way of life on a sustainable and ecological basis, we will have to take tangible measures. But how and where can we create green oases in the concrete jungles of our towns? On the window ledge, the balcony or the rooftop? The multimedia artist and activist Annemie Maes will use her workshop to give us some answers and practical tips. She has long been involved in eco-technologies and grass-roots activism and, in 2004, she and Guy van Belle set up OKNO, an artists collective that aims to develop innovative cultural projects linking art and technology. For example: Connected Open Greens – the outskirts of town where culture and nature can come together symbiotically, where regenerative energy technologies meet traditional gardening and where art projects might make new biotopes. The question is this: to what extent can new organisms, new surroundings and new landscapes be generated by merging the artificial with the natural? OKNO members operate two Open Green Rooftop Gardens in Brussels. They observe and record the growth, flowering and decay of plants as well as providing a habitat for insects and keeping bee colonies. They organise related workshops and an »Adopt a Bee« scheme (a bee hive, to be more precise). Here in Dortmund, Ms Maes will be talking about her Connected Open Greens project, one feature of which is urban bee-keeping. There will also be instructions on how to roll seed bombs, which we will subsequently put to practical effect during a city stroll (…) and so help Dortmund‘s urban bees make more honey.
Annemie Maes has shown a keen interest in film and performing arts since the 1990s and has been involved in setting up several arts initiatives since 1997. In recent work, she takes a look at those communities that have been able to institute lasting change in society on the basis of their structure and philosophy. She provides a summary of her findings in a longterm project entitled Politics of Change – a series of documentaries, anthropological films and online databases highlighting the connections between grass-roots activism, eco-technology and women‘s networks. This focus on gender-specific approaches in art is the key to understanding her work, in which she also repeatedly asks the question as to how female artists deal with new technologies.